Saturday, 28 August 2010

Unchained Melody

After the viewing of the "art" in Quigleys room Solomon bid Al and Julia goodnight after stifling a yawn and a loosening of tie started to make his way to his own....

Going down the spiral stairs he grinned smugly to himself as he dropped the key he'd "borrowed" from Quigley into a pocket and started humming an old Jewish tune his Grandfather had favoured.

Feeling self satisfied he entered the corridor where his room was and stopped dead in his tracks.

He could clearly hear the same tune, if scratchily rendered in the corridor as well as in his he made his way stealthily up the corridor....and past his room.

Yep - the tune was definitely coming from his room - but he hadnt left the wireless on.

Shaking out the garotte in his pocket he prepared it for use in one hand while fishing for his key and listened again before putting the key in the lock, using the cover of the doorframe.


"Here goes - you've done this plenty of times, Steinberg - no problem" he thought as he turned the key and pushed the door open.

The room was empty.

The wireless continued playing while he gave the room a check. Nothing disturbed or out of place.

"Thats enough" he said aloud to himself as he crossed back and switched the wireless off.........the tune carried on.

Giving it a hard thump he switched it on and off - to no avail.

The floor started to vibrate in time with the tune - this was getting spectacularly.....annoying.

"Right then - have it your way" he said wrenching the plug out of the socket and picking the wireless up and carrying it to the door. The wireless stopped as soon as it crossed the threshold.

"Hmmm.......lets see what these parlour tricks are about"

Picking the wireless up he put it near the door, still churning the melody out and locked the door.

The reverberation and footsteps grew louder. Solomon unhurriedly crossed to his valise, flipped it open screwed a suppressor onto a 9mm Automatic and placed himself with a clear shot at the door.

The music and footsteps grew louder...and stopped.

The door handle turned - "Locked - try again"

The door rattled violently in its frame.


Solomon crept across the room and flung the door open to a deserted corridor

Leaving the door open he picked up the radio, placed it outside near the door and locked it again.

"Bedtime - its been a long day" - he thought with a yawn.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Alice................and Quigley

Reception was quiet.Ideal.

After a quick look round to check there was nobody else in the immediate vicinity Solomon approached the Reception desk.

“Good Evening,Sir how can I be of assistance?” Ursulas smile was professionally friendly – and completely false

Solomon affected a well practised sheepish grin. “This must sound real dumb but an acquaintance of mine recommended this hotel to me and said he may be vacationing here about now. I thought it'd be a surprise to look him up if he was”

“And what might your acquaintance's name be?” she enquired.

“Louis...........Louis Fetterman”

“There is a Mr Fetterman here, but guest privacy prevents me giving out his room number...............I can take a message though”

A movement registered in Solomons peripheral vision............the docks bruiser he'd spoken to earlier, Terry Fletcher was blatantly making his way behind the desk and into the office. Ursula didn't bat a heavily mascara laden eyelid..........


“No – but thanks I'm sure I'll run into him” - “Probably fatally” he thought.

With a final ingratiating smile which dropped from his face as soon as his back was turned, Solomon turned and left heading towards the Green Mountain ballroom.

The Green Mountain ballroom was splendidly decked out. Whirling through the fug of cigar and cigarette smoke were several couples, Al and Julia included. As the current dance ended Solomon spotted a slightly disgruntled looking Dwight Albert tap Alessandro on the shoulder and presumably ask if he could cut in.

The Ronquist sisters had their hands full with a queue of young bucks waiting for their turn, their exaggerated laughter and bragadoccio clearly an attempt to impress the two young socialites.

Scanning round again his eyes met the almost pleading expression of Alice he sauntered over.

Before the words “Would you like to...........” were spoken his hand was grabbed by two smaller ones and he was whisked onto the dance floor.

Alice was it appeared good company when outside of her brothers sphere of influence.
When the notes of the last dance faded away he spied Julia and Alessandro trying to attract his attention.

Seeing Dwight was still around he leaned in and said “I'll see you tomorrow maybe Miss Albert – its been a pleasure”

Assuming Dwight was escorting Alice back to her room he went and joined Julia and Al for the “private viewing”

A search for Quigley found him half-frozen on the terrace peering myopically at the expanse of darkened forest and listening to only something he could hear.

Julia persuaded him they'd quite like to see his work and it might be beneficially warmer to all involved indoors and he set off at something between a stagger and a stumble towards his room.........

If thats where embracing the Green Fairy gets you – I'll give it a miss”........

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Dinner and Dancing

Solomon got to the bar at 7pm and settled himself on a barstool waved for the bartenders attention and lit a cigarette.

“What can I get you Sir?”

He ordered a Bloody Mary, which the bartender placed carefully in front of him.

”Thanks - add it to my tab”.

The bar was starting to fill with the young skiing crowd and some other guests Solomon wasnt familiar with. He scanned the faces in the bar to see if any matched the photograph he'd such luck......though a heavily built type was most definitely eyeballing him.

Just as he was deciding to do something about it Julia and Allesandro arrived. After exchanging pleasantries – there was some discussion about who else was sitting at their table. Julia had a knack for attracting admirers – and had already near enough invited a New York political high-flyer by the name of Dwight Albert to dine with them.

He also noticed there was a certain amount of frostiness when Julia was introduced to Albert's attractive sister Alice who seemed to be shyly lurking in his shadow

The introductions done Solomon put out his cigarette and excused himself with “I'll catch you good folks later, I've got to speak to someone”

He eased himself off the barstool leaving them debating about whether to invite a dishevelled looking artistic type or not...........dinner would either be interesting or like watching paint dry...........literally.

Ambling across the bar, Solomon approached the thickset character who had been looking his way earlier. Another brawler.

“Something I can help you with friend? I dont think we've met but I couldnt help noticing you looking my way earlier...........”

After a long stare which Solomon met “Yeah – were you involved in the trouble on the Lower West Side a while back?”

“Not me – must have been some other guy” Solomon replied.

He was aware of the mobs involvement in the trouble referred to but hadnt taken part not being overkeen on such grubby activities as hand to hand brawling.

At that point the dinner bell rang.............”No harm done then”

Solomon turned and wandered through to the dining room locating his table with a wave from Julia.

In the first of several attempts to impress Julia, Dwight Albert “bought” the sommellier with the discreet application of a $50 bill as an incentive.

Here was someone worth knowing - poised and wore wealth easily.

By contrast Quigley appeared to be trying to travel to the opposite end of the spectrum with some gratuitous attention seeking ….......................

“I am a friend of the Green Fairy; she is a tender lover and leaves me intoxicated by her verdant beauty”.

Quigley waved for the sommelier and ordered something in a conspiratorial schoolyard whisper. Shortly a bottle of absinthe arrived along with a bowl of sugar cubes and a carafe of ice water. Dwight stared into the distance, saying nothing, Solomons disdain was written across his face for all to see.

The absinthe was passed around, out of curiosity more than anything, Solomon declined none too politely, dismissing it as brainrot

The conversation plummeted to new depths when Quigley pontificated extensively on surrealism.............

“I fear that when it came to true surreality, I found them wanting. They, for their part, found me too disturbing – however, Miss Somersby, I think that you would find their choice of words intriguing, not dérangé but affolé”
Julia stiffened in her seat. He certainly was disturbing, that his former colleagues described him as terrifying made her even more fascinated, despite herself. He flicked his ash onto the floor as he spoke.

“They would have nothing more to do with me. I came home via London and sojourned there for a week or two; whilst I was there, I had the pleasure of meeting two very interesting gentlemen, Charles Bennett and George Jones, who describe themselves as mystics. And of course, I had the splendid good fortune to meet Arthur Rackham himself. I greatly admire his style – are you familiar with it?" He scanned their faces for a response, seemingly keen to begin a discussion. After the pause he continued.
"Of course, his work is not to all tastes and some find him frightening. He took me into his confidence and told me that he has several pieces for which he was unable to find an exhibitor. No-one dared show them. I resolved to make every effort to see them one day”

Quigleys presence at the table was it appeared Alessandros doing............

"Mr Quigley told me he is working on some pieces here in this very hotel," his face lit up with enthusiasm "I would certainly like to see them". Quigley shrugged with the faintest hint of embarrasment. as did Solomon with a large dose of utter indifference

“Signor Mancini is correct, although my doctor would throw up his hands in despair were he to hear of it. I was sent here for complete rest due to a nervous collapse before Christmas but I found that I was wholly unable to remain inactive. This place is utterly conducive to my work – it affects me, drawing out the visions within. I have such dreams as art is made of. Signor Mancini has displayed an interest in seeing my work – I wonder if anyone else at the table might consider a private viewing later, once dinner is over?”

I'd rather blow my own kneecaps off” Solomon thought as he carried on stoically chewing, heavy lidded and watching the dispute come to a head between Messrs Albert and Quigley

Not to be outdone Dwight interrupted, throwing his napkin down before him.
“I am not in the slightest bit interested in decadent, nay, degenerate artwork of this nature.”

Well said, nor am I” thought Solomon catching Dwight's eye and rolling his eyes

“ I can see you for what you are, sir – a louche dilettante, sucking the life out of the American art world with your morally fraudulent obscenities”

Quigley leant back, gesturing towards Dwight with a dismissive flap of his hand.

“Obscenities? You are a representative of the society that sent millions to their deaths in barbed wire and mud for a failed vision and you have the gall to talk to me of obscenities?”

Now this was getting interesting............

Julia stared uncomfortably at the growing argument. Alessandro stuffed another morsel into his already crammed mouth. When the volume increased Al was almost on his feet, showing his palms to the two men in a bid for calm. Solomon watched – his money was on Dwight Albert if it came to fisticuffs...............

Quigley turned to Julia.

“Miss Somersby, if I have offended and insulted you by my actions at the table, I apologise. In you, I recognise a kindred spirit, a rebel and a fighter against the shackles of society. In honour of your integrity and that alone, I shall provoke no further; might we continue this discussion after dinner?”
She laughed, a little too loudly. "Mr Quigley, I don't know about that . . ." Then seeing the pain growing quickly in his eyes the smile vanished, her voice determined as she heard herself say "Yes, of course. We can talk later, I'd be delighted."

Their meal continued with Quigley and Dwight giving each other frosty glances across the table but remaining restrainedly polite. As dinner ended and the table staff cleared away the plates, bottles and glasses, there was an announcement.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” called a voice. They looked over to see a smiling young man,Tommy Milner

“I’m pleased to announce that the Green Mountain ballroom is now open for dancing; we have Miss Grace La Rue and Fred Mulrooney backed by Sly and Lefty Fitzgerald. Rudi at the bar tells me he has giggle water aplenty for those who haven’t had enough at their tables”

Solomon felt the rare need for more “giggle water” after that conversation.............

Julia made a quick exit, taking a final slurp of champagne near dragging Alessandro onto the dancefloor.

His mind made up partly to make some enquiries and mostly to get away from Quigley Solomon excused himself, shaking hands with Dwight and an abrupt nod to Quigley as the strains of the first dance started.

Solomon made his way to Reception..............

**Credit due to both Dungeonmum and Daddy Grognard.........I've just adapted this to my characters point of view.**

Thursday, 19 August 2010


The train rolled to a halt at Brattleboro station. Solomon disembarked with the other passengers and took in the station – both platforms of it – Northbound and Southbound and along with other travellers made his way to the exit, pausing for a smoke and taking a a few lungfuls of the bracing mountain air – a definite contrast to the carriage.

Several other travellers including Julia and Alessandro were making their way to a bus with a smartly uniformed porter who introduced himself as Leonard who then gave the cold and tired travellers what Solomon considered to be a pompous and rather obvious speech about who he was, the function of the bus and where they were going.

It still beat talking to mechanical press salesmen ….......but not by much.

Eventually and not a moment too soon the luggage was stowed and they were underway.

The Majestic was ten miles away down ice-laden roads which caused some consternation amongst the passengers and Karl the driver performed his role with practiced expertise. When the glittering lights of the Majestic hove into view his knuckles were white on the wheel.

The tyres crunched to a halt outside the hotel and the tired passengers started the process of reclaiming their luggage before entering the Hotel.

Solomon leaned down to pick up his valise........and paused...........the porter Leonard had a strange malevolent look on his face after certain of the soon-to-be guests passed him by.

“Whats the matter?” Julia enquired, noticing Solomon's surreptitious observations.
The porter was now politely nodding when passengers thanked him, some of whom were pressing small bills into his hand by way of a tip.

Solomon shrugged “Nothing to worry about at the moment – that porter was looking at certain people strangely. And I dont mean pleasant.”

With a long hard look at Leonard who was now the picture of self effacing civility they entered the Hotel.

The new arrivals were greeted by the Manager Oliver Phillips Dixon who expressed the hope they would enjoy their stay and pointed them in the direction of very welcome glasses of mulled wine held by a white liveried waiter.

Agreement was made to meet Julia and Alessandro in the bar before dinner for an aperitif

Those new arrivals who had made arrangements in advance dispersed to their rooms. Solomon was relieved to discover the Majestic had plenty of rooms available for ad hoc guests and the necessary arrangements were made.

Grudgingly Solomon allowed the bellboy to carry his luggage to his room, tipping him as he left solely to be rid of him.

The door opened onto a tastefully appointed room comprising sage green décor, a comfortable looking bed and a wooden table with carved legs on which a wireless sat.

Taking off his shoes, Solomon crossed the thick pile carpet to the other door which led to an en-suite bathroom finished with gold plated taps. On the shelf below the shaving mirror there were complimentary toiletries and preparations........

“Nice............but more important things to do first.” he reminded himself.

The room got a thorough once-over the only thing that seemed out of place was the flicker of a fire out in the snowbound wilderness, how close he couldnt tell because of the dark.


Filing the oddity away with a mental shrug he checked his “tools” - for this assignment two of his favoured 9mm semi automatics and a small easily concealed .25 holding six rounds.

While the bath ran he unpacked and an hour later saw him tuxedo and tie clad. On his way out he picked up a packet of cigarettes and dropped the small pistol into a hidden pocket. Well tailored suits were an affordable luxury from his “commissions” which made up for the skulking and lying low after the event.

Giving the room a final check and closing the door he thought aloud to himself

“This is the mutts nuts Steinberg, better than the usual crummy apartments you end up in”

With a spring in his step he made his way to the bar for a pre-dinner aperitif................

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Journey

10th January 13:02 – 16:30

Solomon finished reading the newspaper, apart from the domestic news on the imminent Prohibition Law the only worthwhile item of interest overseas appeared to be the crushing defeat of the Imperial forces by the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War.

The other passengers seemed keen to regale a complete stranger with their business in these close confines presumably as a way of passing the time.

In a fairly short interval Solomon had discovered from several conversations The Majestic hotel was the place to be in Vermont as well as stoically sitting through the marvels of the mechanical press from a travelling salesman which caused him to have a serious rethink on the contents of his business card.
On balance he considered it time well spent.

“Excuse me – do you have the right time?”

Keeping his expression carefully neutral Solomon looked up to find the young woman in the foxfur smiling enquiringly at him......

“Sure have, miss” …......and held his wristwatch up for inspection.

The time noted he smiled at her and observed “Nice hat”

Despite looking taken aback at the remark she replied “Thanks – say are those Black Russian cigarettes you have there........very continental … my new friend Al”

A glance across at the young man introduced as “Al” produced a mixed and contradictory result.

Hispanic or possibly Italian looking and strongly built like a boxer or brawler with scarred hands and ink stained fingers from jotting in a small black bound notebook was his first impression.

“I'm Julia Sommersby by the way, a pleasure to make your acquaintance”

He was aware of the New York Sommersby's position in society circles...........near the top.

The man previously identified as “Al” leaned across and introduced himself........

“Allesandro Mancini”

Shaking both of their hands Solomon said “Steinberg, Solomon Steinberg likewise a pleasure to make both of your acquaintance. What brings you to the frozen wastes of Vermont?” with a gesture at the blurring snowscape passing them by.

The answers came back respectively Julia was to deliver a talk on the role of women in aviation and was a pilot herself and Alessandro was going for an interview for a job as a baristo coincidentally at the Hotel Majestic which thus far had unfailingly got glowing recommendations by those travellers destined for Vermont.

Solomon told them Vermont the Green Mountains and environs had been recommended to him as a vacation venue by someone he knew..............but hadnt been organised enough to make a reservation.

As the train started to slow he decided the Majestic was as good a place as any to start the search for Fetterman...............and improvise from there..............

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Please excuse my slowness to welcome two more readers of my erratic postings

Mr Gone.......


Sir Larkins whose Pendragon campaign logs it has to be said I've been reading avidly for a while....even more so now I understand some of the game mechanics

Monday, 9 August 2010

Pennsylvania Station

11:45 am 10th January 1920

Passing under the impressive edifice of Pennsylvania Station sent an involuntary chill down Solomon's spine as he emerged onto the main concourse.

Putting his valise and violin case down he leaned against a pillar, ostensibly watching the mass of humanity frequenting the station going about their business whilst having a smoke and checking his interior pockets for his ticket and “business cards” giving his occupation as “Musical Instrument Salesman

The thought “What lurks beneath?” forced its way to the front of his mind seemingly of its own volition as people went about their business.
Nothing was ever as it seemed........

Having satisfied himself he wasnt being tailed, unlikely though this was it paid to be careful. The Organisation's "cleaners" prided themselves on their anonymity. In spite of this the Feds and their informers got everywhere these days and who knows what snippet of information they might get wind of by accident?

Better to be safe than sorry......

A trip to a newstand concluded with the purchase of a newspaper partly to read and also for discouraging unwanted conversation on the train. A visit to the cafeteria resulted in sandwiches and coffee followed by a leisurely stroll to board the train

Solomon had nearly made it to the train when the clattering of fashionable Parisian high heels came from behind him, followed by a fleeting impression of a young woman in a luxuriant fox fur passing at a speed that shouldnt have safely been possible, given her footwear.

By the time he got to the conductor to present his ticket, she had boarded.

Solomon took a seat by himself and a couple of minutes later with a venting of steam and a jolt the train pulled away for the four and a half hour journey to Vermont.

Folding the broadsheet newspaper in half, Solomon indulged in some people watching while pretending to read the Baseball results and eating a sandwich whilst taking an occasional sip of coffee..
A cursory inspection of the carriage revealed a mixed selection of other travellers from New York socialites to one young man whose fur coat belied the well worn appearance of the rest of his apparel.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Solomon - Introduction

Since Dungeonmum's blogging about her character's exploits in Daddy Grognards Call of Cthulhu PBEM campaign, I thought I'd write stuff up from my characters perspective....


The loose stair creaked.

Slowly Solomon reached for the suppressed 9mm pistol that was never far from immediate reach and took aim.........

An envelope sized object slid under the apartment door with a rustling hiss, followed closely by the scampering of feet, leaving considerably less stealthily than they had arrived.

The black blob of wax used by the Organisation to notify its operatives of their next mission was instantly recognisable.Scooping up the envelope with his free hand, Solomon seated himself in the tatty armchair, placed his weapon on the battered table nearby and slit open the envelope.

After inhaling the unique aroma of the Florentine paper of the envelope, the folded paper inside revealed a photograph and the accompanying note divulged the mark's name was Louis Fetterman....

An activist and anarchist who owes the Organisation money. Clean up the mess, recover the money and make it look like an accident. Sources tell us he was last seen at Pennsylvania Station last Saturday boarding a train to Vermont, he may be trying to make a run for Canada

Allowing himself a wry smile at the mental image of a large snowball crushing the prosperous looking portly gentlemen in the photograph, he flicked open his lighter with practised dexterity and near simultaneously lit a Sobranie Black Russian and destroyed the parchment, which was then deposited in the slightly reeking kitchenette bin.

“To work Mr Steinberg, time waits for no man”

After an afternoon spent purchasing necessary items and chatting to a talkative and over-enthusiastic sporting goods store clerk, he discovered trains to Vermont were daily at 12:02pm and Brattleboro was popular with hunters, skiers and vacationers.

It was also conveniently near the border.............

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Call of Cthulhu - On the Bench

On a whim this morning I've decided to start work on a "reserve" character for the Call of Cthulhu PBEM in case my current one meets a sticky end involving tentacles.........lets face it he probably will B-)

I've drawn my inspiration in this case from Priest Valon from Gangs of New York....